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Category: New Mexico

Cochiti Lake Recreation Area

Cochiti Lake Recreation Area

Rating:  
Location:  Cochiti (near Santa Fe), New Mexico
Site Quality:  Asphalt roads throughout the park with asphalt pull thru and back in spots with covered picnic tables. Each site also had a solar light near the picnc table – ours worked but some did not. These provided dim light at the site which was nice at night.
Type:  Corps of Engineers
Access:  North highway 25 and West of Santa Fe with good access for big rigs.
Staff: Friendly and helpful.
Amenities:  Showers and restrooms. Each site has a covered picnic table and grill.
Cellular/WiFi:  AT&T and Verizon 5 bars (Cell tower is in the park). AT&T was slow (<1Mb) while Verizon as very fast (~40Mb). No WiFi.
What we liked:  Quiet, peaceful atmosphere. Campsites are terraced above the lake providing good views of the lake and dam which is one of the 10 largest earthen dams in the world. Felt safe and secure. 50′ asphalt site was plenty big for a 41′ RV and the truck.
What we didn’t like:  Not much shade in most spots. No sewer hookups so you have to use one of two dump stations. The shower nearest our site was just OK but could have been updated and cleaned up. One of the control knobs was on the floor. One downside compared to RV parks in Santa Fe is that the temperatures here tend to be 5 to 10 degrees warmer. 

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Puye Cliff Dwellings

Puye Cliff Dwellings

The Puye Cliff Dwellings were home to 1,500 Pueblo Indians who lived, farmed and hunted game there from the 900s to 1580 AD. Puye Cliffs’ inhabitants then moved into the Rio Grande River valley due to drought. They became the ancestors of today’s Santa Clara people, who now live at Santa Clara Pueblo, 10 miles east of Puye.

Puye Cliffs comprises two levels of cliff and cave dwellings cut into the cliff face, as well as dwellings on the mesa top. Over one mile long, the first level runs the length of the base of the mesa. The second level is about 2,100 feet long. Paths and stairways were cut in the face of the rock to connect the two levels and allow people to climb to the top of the mesa.

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Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is less than 10 miles from the Cochiti Lake campground where we have been staying.  It is a must see whenever you are close to this area. During summer it is best to get there early.  Parking is limited and they may need to regulate vehicles entering the park when the parking lots fill up. Delays can be 30 to 90 minutes in these cases. At the same time, summertime temperatures can get very hot. Bring plenty of water.

We hiked the first 1/2 mile segment of the Cave Loop trail and then joined the 2 mile (round trip) Slot Canyon trail. This trail is not to be missed.  The 630′ ascent includes steep and rocky terrain as well as some narrow passages. The views of the geological formations in the area are spectacular.

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Isleta Lakes RV Park

Isleta Lakes RV Park

Rating:  
Location:  Albuquerque, New Mexico
Site Quality:  Gravel pull thru spots with covered picnic tables.
Type:  Short term only and no reservations.
Access:  Just off highway 25 south of Albuquerque at exit 215 with easy access for big rigs.
Staff: Friendly and helpful.
Amenities:  Laundry, showers and restrooms. Each site has a covered picnic table and grill. There was also a community room.  Shuttle service to the casino nearby.  Road Runner train station next door.
Cellular/WiFi:  AT&T and Verizon 4 bars. They had unsecured WiFi but we did not use it.
What we liked:  Quiet, peaceful atmosphere. Gated entry with a guard 24 hours. Felt safe and secure. Gravel pull-thru sites with room for a 41′ RV and the truck.
What we didn’t like:  Train track nearby and numerous trains per day and night that had to blast their horn due to the road into the RV park. Little shade (trees are small). Awkward layout, picnic tables are at the front end of the slot well away from the middle of the rv. 8 PM quiet time was a bit early if you want to do things outside especially with guests.

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Ruidoso New Mexico Area

Ruidoso New Mexico Area

Ruidoso

Ruidoso lies in the Sierra Blanca mountain range of south-central New Mexico, where it merges with the Sacramento Mountains to the south. Ruidoso is a mountain resort community close to the slopes of Ski Apache, the Mescalero Apache Tribe-owned ski resort on Sierra Blanca, a 12,000-foot mountain. The tribe also operates the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort in the area, which includes a casino, hotel, and golf course. Ruidoso is the largest community in Lincoln County, and serves as the regional economic hub. The village received its name from the Rio Ruidoso (Spanish for “Noisy River”), a small stream that weaves through the city.

At nearly 7000′ elevation, Ruidoso is a great summer destination due to milder temperatures, particularly at night. A lot of frontier history can be explored in and around the area and there are numerous other things to do including exploration of nearby mountain villiages, White Sands, and the White Sands Missle Range to name a few. The Trinity Site, location of the first detonation of a nuclear weapon is also nearby. It was conducted by the United States Army at 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945, as part of the Manhattan Project. This site is open to the public two time a year but we have been told it can be difficult to be one of the limited few who manage to get it.

We had the extra treat of having our daughter, Amanda, join us for a few days here then travel on to Albuquerque with us.

Ruidoso Downs

Ruidoso Downs has been the home of the World’s Richest Quarter Horse Race since the All American Futurity was first contested on Labor Day in 1959 with a $129,000 purse. This past summer the Rainbow Futurity and the Rainbow Derby were on track to become $1,000,000 races. It is the only horse track in the United States and Europe that has a separate quarter horse straightaway and oval thoroughbred track giving spectators a unique venue.

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